"Locked in The Cabinet": A Review

AllPolitics Interview: Robert Reich

Reich On: Check out what he has to say about Clinton, Gore, Greenspan, Gingrich ... and hear Reich in his own words, courtesy of Random House AudioBooks.

Alexis Herman: Reich's successor -- if the Senate ever agrees

Cabinet Shuffle: Secretary of Labor

Related Stories:

CNNfn: Reich Enjoying Freedom (4/21/97); TIME: Reich's Kiss-And-Shrug (4/7/97); Reich: Poor Need Help Despite Strong Economy (11/11/96); Clinton Signs 90-Cent Increase In Minium Wage (8/20/96).

Related Sites:

Random House: "Locked in the Cabinet"

Little Big Man: Check out Salon article on "The Downsizing of Robert Reich."

Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich to Become University Professor at Brandeis -- Brandeis University Press Release (1/21/97)

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Another Snag Trips Up Herman's Nomination

Clinton's choice to head Labor remains in limbo

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 25) -- Robert B. Reich is irreplaceable -- literally.

After Reich left the administration to return to teaching, President Bill Clinton nominated Alexis Herman, director of the White House's public liaison office, to succeed him. That was on Dec. 20.

Four months later, Herman appears not much closer to being confirmed by the Senate. First there were questions about her role in arranging some of the White House coffees with political donors, followed by inquiries about a personal investment in a Washington, D.C., real estate project. She answered those questions and cleared the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

Now Democrats complain Senate Republicans are holding Herman's nomination hostage in an attempt to block a proposed presidential order that would direct federal contract managers to consider the benefits of labor agreements when awarding bids. Unions want it, but opponents say it would boost the costs of projects.

After a draft of the order surfaced, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott canceled a floor vote on Herman's nomination.

Earlier this week, Senate Democrats stepped up their complaints about the delay.

"Six months after an election, to be missing yet a meaningful and important member of the president's Cabinet I think is an unfortunate use of our power here," said Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts went further, accusing the Republicans of "political extortion."

But Lott's spokeswoman, Susan Irby, said Clinton is legislating by executive order. "It's illegal, it's unconstitutional, and it's a pattern," Irby said.

What's the outlook for breaking the deadlock?

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle calls it "absolutely nil."


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